Chili and Lopez Island

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Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn and to sing at dusk was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated – Terry Tempest Williams.

It is hard to explain Lopez Island.

To some people, it’s just another beautiful place in the Pacific Northwest. A tiny speck in a state already decorated in shades of green and grey, awe inspiring no matter if you’ve lived here for 30 years or are exploring for the first time. This tiny speck is where a large portion of my heart belongs.

For the past five years my best friends and I regroup on this island. For a few days we forget that we are adults with big decisions and real responsibilities. When we are on Lopez, all that matters is what time we’re going to get our morning coffee. These ladies have lived in my soul for a span of 10-28 years… They get me.

Last year, their dreams were of houses and babies. They’ve figured out half of the equation, and they’re now imagining little feet and sticky hands leaving pint-sized prints everywhere they look. Not wanting little ones of my own, I have gladly volunteered to take the title of Aunty C. Someday I will steal my nephew for a summer and show him how to build a fire and make the perfect s’more.

So much can change in five years. The first year, our dreams were to graduate college and figure out what it meant to be a real adult. It has been a beautiful shift towards a greater sense of self and the stability we needed to settle our hearts. Through all the moves, broken hearts, new loves, and careers, these ladies have been the constant thread. They have been my touchstone and my sounding board. I have seen them fall in love, get married, question their life plans, and I have witnessed them settle into their beautiful skin and embrace it.

This year we found ourselves on the very southwest tip of the island. We sat at the edge, in a quiet grace and thankfulness for each other. Celebrating the fact that we will always have people in our lives that understand us. The world is meant to be celebrated, and I wouldn’t want to do it without them.

Until next year, Lopez. It’s-Finally-Raining Chili

It has been a very warm summer. The grass was brown before July 15th, which is shocking and somewhat scary for our forever green state. We woke up to rain the last day on the island, and I couldn’t wait to get home and make chili. I haven’t had the desire to make soup in months, and all I wanted to do was nest and spend time in my kitchen. This will stick to your ribs and is delicious with some tortilla chips or cornbread.

  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch kale, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup water

Warm one tbsp. of coconut oil on medium high heat. Add in chopped onions and sauté for 5 minutes. Add in minced garlic and sauté for another 3 minutes. Add in all the beans + spices and water. Mix everything together and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn to low and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. Last but not least, add in the kale and let it wilt for another 3 minutes. Serve with some goat cheese and tortilla chips. Yum. Just all the goodness, perfect for a rainy summer day.

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